In recognition of Cinco De Mayo, we asked for short stories and narratives reflecting on heritage from our Mexican-American community. We received the following reflection, written by an individual with a long history here in Globe-Miami: Dr. Christine Marin, Historian and Professor Emeritus, Arizona State University. Enjoy.
I was a lucky kid growing up on Euclid Avenue on the west side of Globe in the 1950s. The street was a dirt street, no sidewalks. Euclid became an arroyo after a hard and fast rain. It was a United-Nations-kind-of-street. Italian, Mexican American, African American, and a sprinkling of Serbian families lived on Euclid Avenue, a true multi-cultural and working class neighborhood.
Walking from Willow Street to Euclid to my house, I heard the soul music of James Brown; the singing of the great Caruso; the country-western tunes of Patsy Cline. And I heard the Mexican music broadcast over KWJB’s La Hora Mexicana, (the Mexican Hour), 1240 AM on the radio dial: it was Pete Oviedo’s radio program—he, with the warm and melodious voice. When Pete wasn’t broadcasting the local news to his Spanish-speaking listeners, he paid tribute to the damas y caballeros on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day; or he mentioned the baptisms, Holy Communions, birthdays or graduations or school activities of their families. He played the standard traditional Mexican corridos , and one could also hear Eydie Gormé and Trio Los Panchos sing the popular “Sabor a Mi” ( “A Taste of Me”). By contrast, and always requested, was Perez Prado Orchestra’s mambo, Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White”—its trumpet sound would slide up and down before the melody began. Once you heard it, you never forgot it. La Hora Mexicana was so popular that local and state political candidates often made it a point to present their candidacies to the Spanish-speaking audience, eager for their votes. And Pete would translate their remarks or speeches from English to Spanish.
Euclid Avenue also had its famous landmark: the Mulberry Tree, which taught kids growing-up lessons on bravery and courage and friendships and loyalties. Just a very short walk from Euclid Avenue were other historic landmarks: Central School; School Hill Park; School Hill Park Swimming Pool; and the African American Methodist Episcopal Church. They became like second homes to kids like me; and we would spend hours there.
I also learned about the bravery and sacrifices of Mexican American veterans from Euclid Avenue during the era of World War II. The street sent at least 37 Mexican American men to serve and protect their country, including my Dad, Lupe Trujillo Marin. Four of them were killed in action. Others returned to Globe with Bronze Stars, or Silver Stars, or Combat Infantry badges, or commendation medals for bravery in action. I’d say that’s a fair amount of Americanism and patriotism for a street less than a mile long.
And Euclid Avenue became the home of the famous Mexican American boys’ club, “The Termites,” founded in 1948 by Benny and Gloria Guerrero, and modeled after the Boy Scouts of America club. Over time, the boys grew into honorable men, and became educators, engineers, coaches, entrepreneurs, teachers, attorneys, and volunteered countless hours to their Globe community in many community service projects and programs, and raised money for scholarships for Globe High School students.
And the young Mexican American women of Euclid Avenue completed their high school education and attended prestigious colleges and universities and earned degrees in higher education; they attended business schools and nursing schools and beauty schools and were admired and respected for their skills and training and for their contributions to their beloved town of Globe.
I’m proud to be from Euclid Avenue. It’s part of my Mexican American heritage. And its heritage is my strength.
—-By Christine Marin. May 5, 2014—-
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